From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Stitch, Rudell

(born: 1933  -  died: 1960) 

Rudell Stitch, a welterweight boxer from Louisville, KY, is one of a few persons to receive two Carnegie Hero Fund Medals. Stitch received the first medal for saving Joseph Schifcar from drowning in the Ohio River (Louisville) on September 15, 1958. Almost two years later, Stitch attempted to save his friend and fishing buddy, boxer Charles Oliver, who had fallen into the Ohio River; both Stitch and Oliver drowned June 5, 1960.

Rudell Stitch was the son of Lena Mae Henderson Stitch and Charles Rudell Stitch and the husband of Rosa Huguley Stitch (1932-1964, born in Alabama). The couple had six children. Rudell Stitch was a champion boxer: in 1960, prior to his death, Stitch had been ranked the No. 2 welterweight contender by Ring Magazine. His record was 27 wins, 7 losses. Some of his fights had been televised nationally. Stitch was a respected boxer who was often referred to as "classy" in the more than 2,000 U.S. newspaper articles about his individual bouts, career, and death.

Later in 1960, the National Boxing Association established the Rudell Stitch Sportsmanship Award; the first award was presented to his family the following year. Rudell Stitch was also an elder at Hope Presbyterian Church in Louisville, under Rev. C. E. Allen.

For more see "Stitch gets hero honors," The Times Recorder, 05/09/1959, p. 11; "Act of heroism claims top-rated boxer's life," Bakersfield Californian, 06/06/1960, p. 32; "Rudell Stitch Sportsmanship Award," Presbyterian Life, vol. 13 (1960), p. 24; the column, "A Century of Heroes," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/27/2004, p. A2; and B. Crawford, "Boxer made the greatest sacrifice of all," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 11/25/2005, p. B1.

Kentucky County & Region

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Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Times recorder (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Bakersfield Californian (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Presbyterian life (periodical)
NKAA Source: Pittsburgh post-gazette (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Stoner, Fred T., Sr.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Stitch, Rudell,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-06-29 23:23:54